by Doug Page / February 28th, 2009
“I just can’t believe that….” The mind-set that preludes our acting together to save our comfortable survival and our civilized democracy.
Obamamania is rampant among Obama voters. By this I mean a continuing almost-religious faith that President Obama will give us what we need despite all of the accumulating factual evidence to the contrary. I know of no “mania” that has ever served mankind well, and there is a special danger inherent in Obamamania. To get at this phenomenon, I choose to explore some back ground.
When people say: “I just can’t believe that President Obama would betray us,” I shudder. There are several critical current factual exposures of the falsity of Conventional Wisdom about which many people respond, “I just can’t believe that …” With that statement and the mind-set behind it, we are defending the status quo. This mind-set constitutes the powerful controlling special interests’ defense against the exposure of the real factual weaknesses and lies of the status quo. Obamamania serves the same purpose. Among the most important of these uningested factual exposures of Conventional Wisdom are these:
* Our private banking system at the Wall Street level has substantial systemic defects that public regulation can not control.
* Israel practices apartheid and secretly undermines all efforts for peaceful settlement with Palestine.
* The $180 Million Dollars that Wall Street contributed to elected officials in the last election cycle in fact controls their votes and policy solutions. We are in fact governed by a ruling class oligarchy.
* President Obama is continuing or enlarging every single act and policy that Wall Street demands, just as ex-President Bush did. The latest example is Obama’s position in court that detainees have no rights under law.
* 9/11 was intentionally caused or enabled by persons high in our government, specifically including former Vice President Cheney.
I have long believed that speaking writing and publishing the truth among citizen-voters could ultimately overcome Wall Street, the Wall Street Banks, the military industrial complex, and even the fact that our elected officials are bought and paid for by very wealthy and powerful financial interests. I have always believed that truth speaking citizens could overcome the contention of Karl Marx that the ideas and ideology of the ruling class inevitably become the ideas and the ideology of citizens everywhere. I had not realized how addictive and how hypnotic the ideas, the ideology, and the brainwashing of the Wall Street Banks, the military industrial complex and the main stream media are. These powerful special interests in fact constitute our ruling class. The exposure of these implanted defensive ideas that many have ingested may help.l I hope that the exposure and communication of this truth will thaw our immobilization and enable us to act politically together.
There have been several recent factual expose’s that expose the falsehood of ruling class mind-sets. For example:
* Two recent Bill Moyers programs exposing Wall Street’s control of the government and the power of big money on our elected officials.
* The surprising 2 hour documentary by CNBC “House of Cards” that exposed the acts and the greedy motives of every actor including the Fed and the Wall Street banks that resulted in our current “depression that threatens to turn out to be worse than the Great Depression.”
* The recent book by Jimmy Carter, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, the serious academic study by Professors John Mearschiemer and Stephen Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, and the many articles by Professor Norman G. Finkelstein exposing that the acts of Israel are often in conflict with the best interests of the United States, and in conflict with Israel’s PR about its stated acts and objectives.
About each of these exposes, many people, including mainstream politicians, academics, economists, advisors and citizens say: “I simply cannot believe that…” For example, many state: “I cannot believe that Israel does evil things,” and claim that Carter, Walt, Mearscheimer, and Finkelstein are anti-Semitic, or self-hating Jews and simply ignore the facts. Some will say, “I cannot believe that our government is that bad or that corrupt” and dismiss the facts with one or more of the status quo defenses that I outline below.
From his actions, appointments, and policy proposals as President, it appears that Obama himself is a victim of this addictive brainwashing.
Our brainwashed state appears to be founded in large part on the fact that we all, rich and poor, Phi Beta Kappa bright, and not so bright, employed and unemployed, male and female, NGO employees and government employees, union members and non-union members, are dependent for our survival on the existing status quo. It is very difficult if not near impossible for us to believe that the source of our survival is somehow corrupt, non-functional or untruthful. We are something like 6 year old children who are terrified at the thought of the death of our mothers. Moreover, we are fairly well off now. We do not want to jeopardize what we already have. The trouble with this is that we may wait too long until things really get bad, and then it will be too late to save civilized democracy. In fear many will turn then to a strong man, perhaps a General who promises to “save” us, as the Germans did in 1933. So let’s wise up now.
In our addicted brainwashed state, when we are called to act, the following are our varying reactions and responses when presented with the true facts, all based on our inner fear that is usually not known or acknowledged.
* Refusal to listen or read. I will not waste my time with that crap.
* Claimed lack of time. I am too busy earning a living to keep what I have. I am doing ok right now.
* Claimed lack of intelligence. I do not have enough brains or facts to act. Those in control know far more than I do.
* Denial. Things are not really what the facts show. Our situation is not nearly as dire as you say.
* Moral Relativism. What you say is “dire” is just a matter of opinion and there are a lot of contrary opinions.
* Groundless Optimism. Things will work out alright. They always have in the past.
* Self Destruction. If it really is that bad, I will kill myself.
* Alcohol. Have a drink, fella. Relax and it will all go away and you will feel better like I do.
* God will save us. All we have to do is pray.
* Conspiracy Nut. You are a just a proponent of some crazy conspiracy theory.
* Retreat into Inner Life. Meditation, serious prayer, being in the “now,” “our survival depends only on our own inner growth,” I am saving us all by doing my inner work.
* Science will save us. I have confidence in our human ability through science to survive.
* Claim of impotence. There is nothing that I can do that will really help.
* Communism. What you propose is communistic or socialistic
* More Big Government. We need to get the government off our backs so that we can enjoy our freedom and take care of ourselves.
* Ad Hominem attack. You are a crazy grandiose zealot. What gives you the right to proclaim the truth? I too keep up with the current news. I know just as much about the truth of what s going on as you do. You are a control freak. Your proposed actions are unloving. All change must be based on love.
* That is class war. We have no classes in America. We all have the same common interests. We are all Americans, like Obama says.
* There is no alternative. For example, many will say Israel has no alternative. About the private Wall Street banks, defective that they may be, most people say they are better than any possible alternative
* Obamamania. President Obama will save us. This is probably the most dangerous of the ruling class myths of all because it immobilizes the civic impulse in thousands and thousands of bright knowledgeable citizen-voters from acting to support Obama. Obama himself does not want this mania and wants us to help him now, between elections, as he begs in his many web sites. The civic impulse is limited in most people. The most we can expect is that they will vote. We are in bad trouble indeed unless some Obama voters can be mobilized to take other political action besides voting. Obamamania is a form of what theologian Walter Wink calls the “Myth of Redemptive Violence” cast in the form of a very bright orator, constitutional lawyer, and democratic politician. (Some argue that Wall Street selected and financed Obama for the very purpose of immobilizing us, our civic impulses, and our normal tendencies to act on our outrage.) This Myth of Redemptive Violence is pervasive in our society. We ingest it from early childhood on. In the case of Obamamania, built on his seductive vague promise of hope and change, his strength and his “violence,” are that he will use his oratory, his constitutional law brilliance and his political brilliance to save us by himself without effort on our part. This is my short summary of how Wink describes this Myth:
Our childhood TV shows, our comic books, many of our movies and our foreign policy are all founded on the false myth of redemptive violence. It promises to redeem, to restore order, law, peace and democracy, but it never does. This myth appears in The Lone Ranger, Batman, Superman, Cowboy Westerns, James Bond movies, TV games, modern adult movies and popular TV shows, and in our foreign policy and CIA. No cooperation, community effort on our part or democracy is required to remove the evil. The Myth is the essence of totalitarianism. The myth is the simplest, laziest, most exciting, uncomplicated, and irrational depiction of evil trouble the world has ever known. The good guys always win. We are devoted to this Myth because it seems so real. It survives in our religious institutions. This myth, and not Christianity, is the real religion of America. No preacher in church once a week can match its power, its excitement, its addiction and its fascination. It is the foundation of holy wars and “just” wars. The distinctive feature of this Myth is the victory of order over chaos by means of “violence” of some kind by one person, albeit a “super” person. “One super man’s might (“or hope and promise of change”} makes right.” There is an underlying theology that the brilliant strong man has the powers of God. The strong man is thus a king with the power of God. Obamamania means that President Obama has become a God for many Obama voters.
All of us, radical, conservative, libertarian, Phi Beta Kappa brilliant or of meager intelligence, in elective office, or citizen, will be damaged and our democratic civilization will fall unless we can act together to meet the threat, and act together to mobilize and act on our outrage. Given the “gung ho” tendency toward “happy talk” as far as our economy is concerned on the part of the ruling class who say the economy can be restarted by relatively conventional means by the same persons and ideas that created the crisis, we must deal with the possibility that things could get much worse than anybody has so far dared to say. Before we can mobilize ourselves and others to act, we must ourselves transcend the addictive brainwashing, the hypnotic trance, and the mythical falsehoods that support and defend the status quo. We all must surpass our differences to deal with our common paramount peril whatever its dimensions may turn out to be.
Here is how it can all play out:
Some of us clear ourselves of our trance, face the facts, and inform those around of us of our new mind-set and our recognition that civic action on our part is urgently required.
We join existing organizations like Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats, Code Pink, and MoveOn.org. I have found that my local chapter of Democracy for America is tentatively supportive of Obama, but wary, and free of Obamamania. I believe Code Pink is also.
We help these groups to mobilize million person marches, focusing their action on two strategic objectives, both locally and at the national level:
* We focus on elimination of the Senate filibuster. We will never get any of our objectives so long as an unconstitutional supermajority of 60 Senators is required to pass legislation or good appointments. So long as it is in place, we would have to elect 2 good Senators in all 50 states to get what we need. Given Blue Dog Democrats and other problems, this is impossible. A simple majority of a quorum of Senators can change the rule if they want to. We must organize, hound the Senators, the Vice President, and the President in DC and in their local offices until they do so. We must bang our pots and pans with a focus.
* We focus on securing public democratic control of our money, to be accomplished by causing the Secretary of Treasury to be the sole creator of money, the incorporation of the Fed into the Secretary of Treasury, and the prohibition of fractional reserve banking, largely as proposed in the American Monetary Act. This is the strategic time to do so. The banks are bankrupt and on the ropes. By doing this, we cut off their source of Ponzi-like money, and hence their immense political power. Then and only then will we be able to push for things like Single Payer Health Coverage. Since Wall Street private bank money is the “mother’s milk of politics,” we will cut off the source.
These focused actions, when accomplished, will not adversely affect us at all. Local banks and local businesses will still function as usual. These actions will insure economic and political stability and sustainability. They are the least radical changes that can deal effectively with the radically profound economic and political problem now confronting us.